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Suspected Al-Shabaab returnee linked to M-Pesa shop robberies arrested in Kayole

Detectives in Nairobi on Tuesday arrested the mastermind behind the recent robberies targeting M-Pesa shops in Nairobi and its environs.

The DCI in a statement said the suspect, John Mutiso Makau alias Katitu, is believed to be a returnee from the Al-Shabaab militia in Somalia. He was arrested after a dramatic chase in Kayole’s estate.

Police said that in a two-day heightened operation, sleuths had prior to Katitu’s arrest pounced on two of his accomplices Brian Wambua Mbindyo and Danson Musyoka Mulee.

According to detectives, Katitu’s dramatic arrest left residents of Kayole’s Matopeni area shocked following a commotion that stretched for three kilometres as detectives chased after the suspect.

It took the effort of detectives from the elite Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau, backed up by a contingent of officers from the Kayole police division to apprehend the suspect, the DCI said.

A manhunt for the thugs was launched on October 31 when the trio allegedly shot dead 38-year-old Nicodemus Mbuvi Munyasya, who was walking out of Donholm’s Family Bank with a carrier bag.

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Munyasya, who worked as a clerk at Extra Paints Manufacturing Limited, had deposited a cheque in the bank and was walking out the building when he was accosted by the thugs who mistook the bag for money.

“Immediately he stepped out of the banking hall, two thugs on a motorbike accosted him and a scuffle ensued as the thugs snatched the bag from Munyasia, assuming that it contained a wad of cash,” the DCI said.

“When Munyasia resisted, he was shot at four times, three times on his legs and once in his chest by the fleeing thugs.”

DCI added that three days before this incident, the trio allegedly accosted a woman in Umoja estate and shot her on the ankle, making away with her handbag.

The three are also suspected to be behind another robbery reported at Embakasi Police Station on October 19, where one Dennis Musyoki and his wife who operates an M-Pesa outlet, were attacked at gun point as they walked home.

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Elsewhere, they accosted retired Managing Director of Coast Development Authority, James Kahindi, when he arrived at the gate of his compound in April.

The robbery attempt turned futile, however injuring his house help who was then rushed to Nairobi Women’s Hospital in stable condition.

Preliminary investigations show that the firearm used in all four robberies was the same.

Police also recovered 18 rounds of ammunition from Katitu’s house in Fedha estate.

Detectives have since established that one of Katitu’s alleged accomplices, Musyoka, has a past criminal record and had been involved in various bank heists before going into hiding.

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“When he realized that he was on our radar, he retreated to his rural home in Matuu where he put up a modest home. Musyoka had recently sneaked back to the city where he teamed up with Katitu and Mbindyo to terrorize city residents,” said DCI.

In his confession to the police, Musyoka revealed that they preferred using motorbikes as their getaway means.

DCI has also learnt that Mbindyo was in-charge of surveillance and his duties included going round M-Pesa shops in city estates gathering information on the shops transacting large amounts of cash, before sharing his findings with his accomplices.

Mbindyo also confessed that he would remain at the crime scenes and offer misleading eye-witness accounts to detectives and members of the press.

He would only leave the scene after ensuring that he has tampered with every detail that would incriminate his accomplices.

Meanwhile, an ongoing manhunt on a suspected fourth member identified as Willie or Ibrah is underway.

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